A Culture of Fear: Universities and the Division of LGB Youth

Nicole Jones
6 min readJan 21, 2020

This is the full transcript of the speech given at Òran Mór for the LGB Alliance launch event.

I’m going to be talking a bit today about my experience as a young person in navigating this topic. I’m a co-founder of forwomen, along with Trina Budge, Marion Calder (who you’ll hear from later) and the late Magdalen Berns. We are campaign group that aims to combat the proposed changes to the gender recognition act. I’m also a student at Edinburgh University, at the art school, so as you can imagine I’m surrounded by…likeminded activists.

I have been engaged with this topic since I was seventeen, so I’m very unforgiving of my peer group, who seem to make up the bulk of protesters at women’s meetings and events like these. The forwomen meeting in the Apex hotel in Edinburgh last year had protests and threats so severe we had to double our security and involve the police — all simply so women could assemble and discuss their rights.

I’m embarrassed for them. You won’t hear any excuses from me about social media leading the naive astray, as I was also a ‘Tumblr feminist’ and was quite capable of following links outside the site to scanned pdfs of second wave texts, rather than Jezebel articles. There really is nothing standing in the way of these young people and a good book.

With that being said, these activists are useful idiots at the forefront of a lobby effort that’s been decades in the making. The push legally to accept the “international best practice” of an affirmative, self-id approach — one that nullifies sex based rights and legal recognition for homosexuals — runs parallel to a culture war among my generation.

At the universities, systems put in place by feminists seeking to protect women are now the very procedures used to discipline them. Three years ago, my former partner Magdalen Berns graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in physics; however, she was also permanently reprimanded by the uni for “violent and disorderly conduct” for stating the fact men cannot become women and consequently, can never be lesbians. Interestingly, she was first called a TERF after she disagreed with Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA) LGBT Liberation group’s statement of support for the drag ‘ban’ of Glasgow

Nicole Jones

Artist and writer based in Edinburgh. To support my writing: paypal.me/satiricole